Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stena Blaze the way With New Super Fast RoRo Freight and Passenger Ferry

Long Awaited Scottish Irish Service Commences
Shipping News Feature

UK – The first of the two ‘Superfast’ RoRo freight and passenger ferries has arrived at Loch Ryan Port ready to serve on the new Stena Line fast link between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Superfast VII will be joined by her sister ship Superfast VIII later this week at their new purpose built 27 acre Scottish port in Cairnryan approximately seven miles north from its current home port of Stranraer ready to commence the service on the 21st November.

At 203 metres, the two new ships have the capacity to accommodate 1,200 passengers, 660 cars or 110 freight units and will make the crossing in just two and a quarter hours. The vessels previously served on a Finnish/German route and both have been refurbished by Stena’s Polish contractors to an extremely high standard. A video of the facilities can be viewed HERE.The new Cairnryan – Belfast route will have ten scheduled sailings per day between Scotland and Northern Ireland at launch rising to twelve from the 5th December.

The official launch of the service will take place next week in the presence of First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond whom the company are sure to want to impress as they await the Scottish Governments review of existing ferry services, the first draft of which is due for publication next month. Stena are believed to be investing as much as £200 million in the new port and ferry project including the works which saw the new Belfast terminal developed three years ago. Paul Grant, Stena Line Route Director was enthusiastic when he described the new service saying:

“When we start our new route timetable on November 21st, it will be from one of the most advanced ports in the UK. Loch Ryan Port is the culmination of years of planning by Stena Line and it will provide our customers with a world class facility. But the new port is only half the story. We will also be introducing two of the largest ships ever to have sailed between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Sister ships Superfast VII and Superfast VIII will complete the crossing in 2¼ hours with a level of comfort and range of facilities unrivalled on the Irish Sea. The new ships will even have their own Pure Nordic Spa which will include a Jacuzzi and sauna for use by Stena Plus customers. Specifically with our freight customers in mind, we have ensured that the new Superfast ships have no height restrictions with over 5 metre clearance to ensure they can accommodate the largest freight units on UK roads.

“We are delighted that our new port has been designated a National Project by the Scottish Government and are currently working with government to look at improvements to the road infrastructure to and from the port to help the new facility maximise its full potential in terms of overall journey times between Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Photo: Nothing if not picturesque. The Superfast Vll lies alongside the Loch Ryan quay with the new ferry terminal visible in the foreground. Courtesy of Stena Line